When it comes to boot camps and group training, you'll find most trainers have an either/or attitude. You'll find them taking a stance behind one or the other business model and defending their position aggressively.

Drawing such definitive lines in the sand about the types of services you provide is a big mistake, especially when these services stand to make you much more money. Both models have their benefits and can lead to exceedingly strong businesses. And here's another thing -- if you're smart, you can make them both work under one roof or as part of one training practice.
From the standpoint of the personal trainer, for your studio or private training practice make as much as possible, running boot camps is a must.
If you're afraid of the two services conflicting, the difference is in the marketing. When you have only a boot camp, you’ll market it as a be-all and end-all, and you should. You have to take the position of marketing it as better than private training, because that’s what you're competing against in some cases.

But when you have a training studio, you have to position your boot camps differently. You obviously won't be giving it the same positioning as your other training services. If you do make it sound like that you’ll make people think "Why the heck do I need the personal training when I can just take the boot camp?"

The solution is to position it as something different from your private training. For example, if you market your private training as a way to achieve "body transformation," then you can market your boot camp as a "fat burner." They both do different things, so it's conceivable that one person could be a candidate for both products.
You need to make this decision early on because there are a lot of reasons why you don't want to be without boot camps in your training studio.

First of all, boot camps are a tremendous lead funnel. Since a boot camp doesn't cost you any more overhead if you have more clients in the class, it allows you to be more flexible in terms of the offers you put out. You can just plain get more people into your business by having boot camps as one of your offerings.

They are also a great way to get referrals through free trials and "bring a friend day" invitations to existing clients. Another thing you have going for you is that people are more likely to join with a friend when you have a boot camp, which means you get more bang for every new lead. Like they say, women don't even go to the bathroom alone, so if you have a service that's easy for people to do with a buddy, they'll take you up on it!

Boot camps are also recession-proof. They can be a slack adjuster even during a down economic time. A lot of trainers felt a huge crunch two years ago from the recession and some are still feeling it. But having a boot camp as an added service allows you to keep clients even if their financial situation changes and continue attracting new ones even if people are cutting back their spending.

Boot camps are also great for retention. You can put clients into them who would traditionally stop training with you. And you can put your top clients into them for free if you chose, which will bring them added value and keep them coming back.

Your camps can attract a different market than your private training. There are plenty of people in any community that are good, hard-working people and excellent candidates for your business, but for whatever reason won't turn into private training clients. Maybe they get bored working one-on-one and want a social environment. Maybe they can’t afford private training. Or maybe they just can't conceive of themselves spending that much money on private training. Whatever the reason, boot camps create an additional revenue channel for you to get ALL of the money!
A trainer really needs to think creatively on how they can bring boot camps into their business, because there are a lot of good reasons to do it. They bring in more leads, lead to better retention and are an additional revenue channel, so it’s hard to think of a good reason not to.

Kaiser Serajuddin is the writer of the popular personal training blog, Super-Trainer.com. He guides personal trainers through the challenging period of starting their personal training businesses and helps them on the road to six figures. For more information, you can download his special report, The Six-Figure Formula, at www.super-trainer.com.